New Mining Regulations in Maine
February 2014 by Associated PressAugusta, Maine (AP)—The Maine Board of Environmental Protection (BEP) approved new mining regulations in January that advocates say will weaken land and water protections and won’t protect the environment from sulfuric acid and other toxins.
Renewed interest in mining of gold, silver, copper and other metals in Aroostook County’s Bald Mountain triggered 2012 legislation requiring the overhaul of the state’s two-decade-old mining regulations.
The Democratic-controlled state Legislature, however, will have the final say on the new rules, which could be the subject of a heated battle.
The Department of Environmental Protection, which drafted the regulations, has said the rules are based on science, meet the requirements of law and protect the environment. But some environmentalists are angry over what they say are insufficient protections.
The final BEP rules opened up some conservation land to underground mining, allowed mining companies to potentially treat contaminated water in perpetuity, and allowed mining companies to start construction without providing full financial assurances—although those financial obligations must be fully met before mining can commence.
Nick Bennett from the Natural Resources Council of Maine said the BEP made some last-minute changes and ignored hundreds of public comments calling for stronger rules.
But any mining operations are likely years away. J.D. Irving Ltd., owner of Bald Mountain, says it still doesn’t know if mining is feasible and that any mining operation is at least five years away.
Since 2005, a group representing a handful of Oregon and Washington mining organizations, centered around the Eastern Oregon Mining Association (EOMA) and the Waldo Mining District (WMD), have been actively fighting the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) over their then new “700PM Suction Dredge Mining Permit.”
• Lawsuits galore
• Suction dredging saga continues
• HR 1937 to streamline permitting, remove obstacles to miners
• Sage-grouse debate continues
• More National Monuments
We all know that it was never Congress’ intent to regulate gold panners and other individual mine operators through MSHA. In fact, I believe the concept of owner-operated mines with no employees was so strange a concept to the lawmakers that they never even thought there would be a need for such an exemption.
• Idaho miners will challenge new EPA permit at rally
• California proposes to amend definition of a suction dredge
• Proposed rule redefines "navigable waters"
Retired geologist Dave Taylor of Farmington, New Mexico, predicted the disaster in a letter published by the Silverton Standard a week before it occurred.
- Key appointment at BLM
- Current administration not waiting for Congress
- BLM relocating
- Kansas exempts bullion from sales tax
Many of you are aware that we have been engaged in litigation with anti-mining activists that have been attacking us through the Karuk Tribe of California since 2003. It all started with their lawsuit against the US Forest Service (USFS), challenging that District Rangers do not have the authority to allow small-scale mining activities under a Notice of Intent (NOI) when the Ranger concludes that the mining activity is not likely to create a substantial surface disturbance.
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